Monthly Archives: June 2011

Why Don’t I Have a Bakery???

Whenever I have a bit of time off, I am always asking myself this question, as I LOVE spending my spare time in the kitchen. To a lot of people, baking is somewhat of an arduous task, but I enjoy it to no end. It doesn’t matter whether I am making an old favorite, or creating something new, I just relish the time that I can spend making yummy treats and snacks for my family and friends (and our sweet dogs too!). Today, I only had a few errands to run, so I knew that I would get to spend some time with my KitchenAid mixer and my Sil-pat (which made me very excited!). While I did bake something familiar (peanut butter-pumpkin dog treats), I decided to get a little creative when making my second treat: rather than make “regular” oatmeal-chocolate chip cookies, I decided to make a bar cookie with a similar base, but with a texture more similar to a granola bar. I must say, I really do like how they turned out, though my husband might disagree; since he wanted actual oatmeal-chocolate chip cookies, I don’t know if he’ll be too crazy about these, but I think he’ll come around to the idea.

That being said, if you’re interested in trying a new recipe, this is a good one, since it’s not complicated, and you don’t even have to form individual cookies!

Oatmeal-Chocolate Chip Bars

1/2 c. sugar

3/4 c. brown sugar

2 sticks of butter, softened

2 eggs

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 c. flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

3 c. oats

1 1/2 c. chocolate chips

1. Cream butter and both sugars; add eggs and vanilla.

2. Combine dry ingredients (except for oats and chocolate chips) and add to creamed mixture; beat until combined.

3. Add chocolate chips and oats, and stir in by hand; press into an ungreased 13×9 pan.

4. Bake at 350 for approximately 30 minutes; cut into bars and enjoy!

 

Advertisements

My Dad

I know that I am a bit late on my Father’s Day post, but I figured that it was better late than never.

I am one of the lucky ones. To this day, I still put my dad up on a pedestal, and he deserves all of the accord and praise he has gotten over the years. He is truly one of the most patient, hard-working, caring and dedicated people I have come across in 30 years. There is never anything that he wouldn’t do for a friend or family member, no matter how daunting the task. And it’s not just about the things he has done, rather how he has done them. He does everything with such dedication and love, yet never asks for any recognition. The best way for me to describe him is as having gentle strength. I know that these words may seem like near opposites, but somehow, my dad seems to embody both of them simultaneously.

I have so much respect and love for my dad, and I have been so blessed to have his presence in my life. Happy Father’s Day!

Hmmm…

Here are just a few things that have popped into my head this morning:

1. In New Orleans, why do people flash for beads? The strands cost about $0.29 apiece, which means that, even if you “earned” 50 or so, that would mean that they would only be worth around $15. Really? Are they that precious??? I mean, it’s not like you’re doing it for a diamond necklace, because THAT would probably be a totally different story! 😉

2. When you get a piece of toast stuck in the toaster, do you ever feel like you’re playing the game “Operation” as you try to get it out with the tip of a knife? I know, I know: you’re supposed to unplug the toaster before you stick a metal object in there, but sometimes it seems like a fun and dangerous game for 7:30 in the morning.

3. If you hear someone mispronouncing something or misusing a word, do you correct them? I know that we all probably roll our eyes, sigh, and silently admonish them for their silly mistake, but wouldn’t it be better if we actually let them know???

New Employment Opportunity

As I embark on my second week of vacation, I am struck by exactly how WONDERFUL it is to be at home. Whether I have a to-do list of a dozen things, or just a few shows to watch on the DVR, it is nice to “just be.” With that being said, I think I would like to keep this “position” on a full-time basis, so I have written a cover letter and drafted a resume for a potential employer. Hopefully, I will be so unbelievably convincing about how perfect I would be for this job that I will hear back very soon!

Dear Mr. Rannou,

I am contacting you regarding the position of “stay-at-home-wife.” While I realize that you have not actually posted this position anywhere, I feel that there is definitely a need for it to be filled. By choosing me for this position, the management of your household will be greatly improved. The laundry will be washed, fluffed and folded, as opposed to being left in the dryer for a day or two (due to the lack of time of a working wife). In addition, you will be able to come home to the aroma of freshly-baked cookies on a bi-weekly basis. As if this wasn’t good enough, you will also get to come home to a wife who is not tired, frazzled or stressed out, due to the daily rigors of her current job. If you really weigh your options, I think you will also come to the conclusion that I would be the perfect person to fill this position.

Thank you so much for your time and consideration. I look forward to speaking with you soon!

Sincerely,

Katie Rannou (your wife)

Yummy Treats (No, Not For You, But For The Dogs!)

I know, I know. It’s been way too long since I posted a recipe, especially since the word “recipes” is actually in the title of my blog description. It’s not that I haven’t been cooking, I just really haven’t had any time to do that AND blog about it. Well, now that school is out and the wedding festivities are finished, I can get back to doing both!

Seeing as Boxers are notorious for their sensitive stomachs, my husband and I are VERY careful about what we feed them. They are on all-natural food, and the only treat they get is a daily milk bone at lunchtime (we call it their “midday snack”). While this may seem a little bit too restrictive (even to me, as my childhood dog would occasionally eat bacon and eggs with us on the weekends), it has really helped to keep them healthy and happy (and us too, as it has cut down dramatically on their gas!). Whenever I have the opportunity and the luxury of a little extra time, I like to make homemade treats for them. Though they don’t get a lot of treats, I still think that it’s better for them to be eating something that’s not full of junk.

This recipe originated in a cooking class that I took a few years ago, and it has really evolved into my own. I make several different versions, but here are the two that I use the most:

Peanut Butter-Oatmeal Dog Treats

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1 tsp. baking powder

3/4 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup wheat germ

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup water

*** Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Roll into tablespoon-sized balls and flatten slightly. Place on a cookie sheet and bake at 325 for 15-20 minutes. When they are done, they should have the texture of slightly-underdone cookies.

Peanut Butter-Pumpkin Dog Treats

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 cup canned pumpkin

1/2 cup wheat germ

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup water

*** Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Roll into tablespoon-sized balls and flatten slightly. Place on a cookie sheet and bake at 325 for 15-20 minutes. When they are done, they should have the texture of slightly-underdone cookies.

If your dogs are anything like mine, they will LOVE these treats. And if your father-in-law is anything like mine, he will tell you that they aren’t bad, but could be better with a little sugar (after mistakenly eating them, thinking they were “regular” cookies)!

For My Brother

This weekend marked the culmination of something that has been going on for 10 years: my little brother got married! Whenever I refer to him as my “little brother,” people get the impression that he is very young, possibly still a teenager; in actuality, he’s 26, so he’s plenty old enough to get married. Besides actually BEING old enough to get married, he is very ready to move on to this new chapter of his life with his fiancee. I am so excited for both of them, because this has definitely been a long time coming, and my family couldn’t be more thrilled that this was a high school romance that turned into “the real thing.”

Looking back on the past 26 years,  I can remember us as children, doing so many crazy/bone-headed/dangerous things. Though we did have our times of conflict, we had so much fun together (though I’m sure, he would say that I may have had more fun, since I was a little bossy, as the older sister!). We were both fairly creative and resourceful, which led to lots of experiments and activities that were probably a little “less than safe.” I remember one time when we came up with the idea to have a carnival in our neighborhood. Obviously, we didn’t really have any idea about how much money, time, and expertise went into an actual carnival, but we were bound and determined to have one in a neighbor’s side yard, in order to make money. We spent quite a few summer afternoons with several neighborhood children, building “rides” and coming up with games for our “customers.” There was one especially “ingenious” ride that we designed, which consisted of a lounge chair, suspended in a tree by jump ropes. There were various other games and activities, such as shooting balls into a bucket with a slingshot and a seesaw-type contraption (again, not very safe!). I still laugh so hard when I think about the things we used to do, and the ideas that we swore would come to fruition. We really had such a great time together, just being kids.

I can’t help but smile when I think back on this weekend, and how amazing it was to see my brother “all grown up.” I was so proud of him as I watched him say his vows and celebrate his wedding day with his beautiful new wife. As I watched him at the reception, my mind couldn’t help but be filled with all of those wonderful times and memories we shared as kids. I felt so blessed to be a part of their wedding, and I can’t wait to share some new, beautiful memories with both of them (though I don’t think  we will be planning any more carnivals any time soon…).